Title: Report to the Water Management District Review Commission
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Title: Report to the Water Management District Review Commission
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Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Report to the Water Management District Review Commission (JDV Box 39)
General Note: Box 29, Folder 9 ( Water Management District Review Commission - 1995 ), Item 3
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Full Text

Report to the
WATER MANAGEMENT
DISTRICT REVIEW
COMMISSION


Q05


By the
LAND ACQUISITION,
PLANNING AND
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

November 30, 1995















Table of Contents


1. BACKGROUND
3. Subcommittee Challenge
4. Subcommittee Findings
6. Subcommittee Intent
6. Major Goals
8. Introduction
12. The Process
15. The Plan
16. The Impediments

20. LAND ACQUISmON
AND FUNDING
21. Issues
21. Subcommittee Findings
23. Major Goal
23. Subcommittee
Recommendations

22. LESS-THAN-FEE
ACQUISITION
29. Issues
29. Subcommittee Findings


30. Major Goals
30. Subcommittee
Recommendations


33.
38.
38.
41.
41.


LAND MANAGEMENT
Issues
Subcommittee Findings
Major Goal
Subcommittee
Recommendations


37. MITIGATION BANKING
AND MITIGATION
PROJECTS
45. Issues
46. Subcommittee Findings
49. Major Goals
49. Subcommittee
Recommendations


Page i


c~i'''d

















Background


The Water Management District
Review Commission was
authorized by Chapter 94-270,
Laws of Florida, during the 1994
legislative session. The Commission was
charged with the responsibility to:

"...perfirm a comprehensive review of Forida's
system of regional water management and the
water management distric.. ."

The Commission, which consists of
appointees by the Governor, President
of the Senate, and Speaker of the House
of Representatives, was organized
immediately following the enactment of
the bill and held its initial meeting in
September, 1994. The Commission has
held monthly public meetings during the
last year to receive comment regarding
the water management districts. It has
held its meetings at least twice within
the area of each water management
district to allow the public multiple
opportunities to provide comment to the
Commission. Three subcommittees were
appointed within the Commission to
provide a more focused review on


specific areas of responsibilities of the
districts. These are District Responsibili-
ties and Operations; Finance Structure
and Budgeting; and Land Acquisition,
Planning and Management

The Land Acquisition, Planning and
Management Subcommittee was created
and charged with the responsibilities to
review and evaluate:

... Ways to improve the planning and
management activities for land owned by the
water management districts and water
resources by reorganizing and integrating the
responsibilities of water management
districts, regional planning councils, the
Department of Environmental Protection and
the Department of Community Afairs." and;

"..Alteratives to water management district
management of district lands, including the
feasibility of land management by the
Department of Environmental Protecion,
other state or federal agencies, local govern-
ments, and non-governmental entities, singly
or in combination."


Page 1
















The Subcommittee received testimony,
written comment, and public input
regarding all aspects of these programs.
Upon the conclusion of the
Subcommittee's evaluation, they were
charged to present to the full Commis-
sion their findings and recommendations
including the identification of any
necessary statutory reform.

The Subcommittee consists of the
following members:

Thomas H. Dyer, Chair
Fice President, Two Riers Randc, Inc.

Sanford N. Young, Vice-Chair
Enwirwonental Consultant

Representative John Laurent
Forida House ofRepresentative, District 66

Mimi K. McAndrews, Esquire
Carltn Rds, Ward Enmanu4 Smith, et al

Thomas Oakley
Oakley Transport, Inc.

Representative Vernon Peeples
Rorida House ofRpresentatives, Distric 72

At each Commission meeting, the
Subcommittee also met and received
presentations from water management
district and Department of Environmen-


tal Protection staff, consultants, repre-
sentatives of regulated industries, other
governmental agencies, and private
citizens on issues regarding the land
acquisition and management programs
of the water management districts. It
was during these meetings and upon
reflection of the information received
that it became apparent that the land
programs of the water management
districts could not be reviewed in
isolation from similar programs of other
agencies within the state. For instance,
the fact that more than four state
agencies, five water management
districts and over 20 local governments
implement and fund land acquisition
and management programs became a
factor which the Subcommittee consid-
ered integral to the recommendations it
would make to the Commission.

In attempt to be as complete as possible
in its review, the Subcommittee re-
viewed four general areas of the dis-
tricts' programs. These areas were:

4* Land acquisition and funding;

4 Less-than-fee acquisition;

* Land management; and

* Mitigation banking and mitigation
projects.


.-'


Page 2
















SUBCOMMITTEE
CHALLENGE

Question: How much land does the state
own?

Question: Are the acquisition methodolo-
gies which are being utilized today to acquire
public lands the most cost-effective?

Question: Are sufficient funds identified
and available for effective public lad
acquisition, management and restoration?

Question: Are public land being managed
effectively and efficiently?

Question: I the information regarding the
public lands programs readily accessible?

Question: Is there a statewide plan to
identify and finalize the conservation of
public lands necsry for the state?

Question: Have governmental agenci
recognized and acknowledged that almost all
of the lands identified in all the land
conservation plans of this state are in private
ownership today; and that these private
landowners may make significant contribu-
tions to the completion of the conservation of
public lands in this state?

Question: Does the Legislature need to
recognize and support a State Land Conser-
vation Plan to ensure the sustainability of the
quality of life the cities of this state
deserve?


These and other critical issues faced the
Subcommittee at the beginning of its
review. However, the Subcommittee's
task was clear: Review and evaluate the
land acquisition and management
programs, initially only of the water
management districts; and recommend
ways to improve these activities,
including the possibility of reorganizing
and integrating these programs with
regional planning councils and the
Florida Departments of Environmental
Protection and Community Affairs. The
questions were many; the information,
testimony and documentation was
voluminous; the answers and resolutions
are multiple. However, one thing
became apparent and remains critical:
the State of Florida must implement a
process that results in an integrated
public-private state land conservation
plan.

The Florida Department of Environ-
mental Protection has released its
Ecosystem Management and Implemen-
tation Strategy. Within this strategy is
the concept of "place-based" manage-
ment. Place-based management differs
from the traditional management which
is generally media-based, i.e., air, water,
or land, to site- or system-based manage-
ment This concept attempts to address
the management of resources by
maintaining the overall health of an
ecosystem, including human activities.
Also within this concept, is the identifi-
cation of "ecosystem management


Page 3


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~9~ :
















areas," which are areas or places of
sufficient size to address regional
hydrologic and ecological connections.
This strategy and this approach to
resource management will serve the
State of Florida well during the prepara-
tion, implementation and completion of
the proposed State Land Conservation
Plan. This strategy recognizes the
necessity for the common-sense, big-
picture approach to the protection and
conservation of Florida's natural
resources, including those areas to serve
as buffers while continuing to provide
economic and environmental benefits.

The Subcommittee's Findings and Major
Goals identified below, along with all
the Subcommittee's recommendations,
are meant to be a challenge. This
challenge is directed to the Legislature,
the state, regional and local governmen-
tal agencies, the nonprofit organizations,
and each and every private landowner
and citizen in this state. The challenge is
to actively participate in the process in
the next critical months and complete
the plan necessary for the survival of
Florida's future. This plan and its
completion-and it must be completed-
is not purported to be the solution to all
Florida's problems, but merely the piece
of the puzzle required to be finished to
establish a sustainable Florida. The
Subcommittee stands ready to go
forward as a guide during this next
critical step of the process, at the will of
the Commission. Every member firmly


believes that the findings and recom-
mendations must be put into action and
that the goals can be achieved.



SUBCOMMITTEE
FINDINGS

4 Florida's current system of environ-
mental regulation, growth management
and public acquisition will not ensure a
sustainable state for future generations.
Private agricultural and forestry lands
continue to be lost at unacceptable rates.
With the loss of these critical economic
components of the state's economy goes
the loss of natural resources, critical
habitat, and the ability to sustain
economic growth while ensuring a
healthy environment.

4 Florida's private landowners,
agricultural interests and forestry
operators have not been integrated into
the current system, rewarded for their
stewardship or been provided economi-
cally realistic alternatives, other than fee
sale to the public agencies or conversion
for development, to conserve these
lands.

* State agencies and the water
management districts currently estimate
the need to conserve an additional 6.3
million acres, in addition to the approxi-
mately 7.7 million acres already in
public ownership. The overwhelming
majority of these additional conserva-


$V"eo


Page 4

















tion lands are currently in agricultural or
forestry ownership or land uses.

* The Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission's Closing te Gaps in
Florida's Wildife Habitat Conservation
System report generated significant
mistrust from Florida's private landown-
ers due to its failure to integrate the
owners of the lands identified in the
report during its development The
report may have resulted, and could
continue to result, in increased regula-
tory requirements, decreased property
values and the hindrance of further
development of integrated conservation
lands programs.

*: The lands to be included in the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan
can be, and are intended to be, con-
served through a variety of techniques,
including. purchase of fee; purchase of
less-than-fee; and non-regulatory,
voluntary, incentive-based alternative
programs.

* The current acquisition programs of
the federal, state, water management
districts and local governments are not
fully integrated nor effectively coordi-
nated to take advantage of the expertise,
resources and funding sources of each
entity. The remaining five years of the
Preservation 2000 program, when
combined with the Save Our Rivers
funds and the over 20 local governments
which have enacted environmental land


acquisition programs, could generate
over $2 billion for land conservation
programs.

*- The current conservation land
management programs of the federal,
state, water management district and
local governments are also not fully
integrated nor coordinated. Due to the
lack of funding for, and the single-purpose
mission of, existing state land manage-
ment agencies, the water management
districts have had to duplicate land
management expertise to meet their land
management responsibilities.

* There is no system for the full
integration of all current federal, state,
water management district and local
government conservation land owner-
ship information, management plans
and costs or proposed conservation
lands information at the state or re-
gional level. The result is the lack of
comparative data information, the
inability of public or private sectors to
access the data, and the lost opportunity
of sharing successful and improved
programs between agencies.

-+ Without a State Land Conservation
Plan, estimating the necessary funding
to complete the Plan is impossible.
However, based on current estimates,
the continuation of Preservation 2000
funding through the life of the program
is critical to completing the State Plan.
It is anticipated that current funding will


Page 5


B''i
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not generate sufficient funds to complete
the proposed State Land Conservation
Plan and that non-regulatory, voluntary,
incentive-based alternatives and strate-
gies must be generated and developed.

4 Current mapping efforts by various
state agencies to identify lands impor-
tant for conservation purposes have
collectively resulted in the identification
of approximately 6.3 million acres. It is
unreasonable to expect broad land-
owner support for achieving the conser-
vation objectives of the state without
their integration and involvement in the
process of identifying conservation
lands, or the development of the
incentives necessary to achieve the
conservation goal.

4 Achieving the conservation objec-
tives of the state will require both
voluntary, incentive-based alternatives
for rewarding private landowners for
managing lands consistent with conser-
vation objectives and continuation of
public, fee simple purchases of priority
areas.



SUBCOMMITTEE INTENT

It is the intent of the Subcommittee:

1. That the establishment of the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan
shall not create increased regulatory
requirements for private landowners


who participate in the Plan. It is the
intention of the subcommittee's recom-
mendations to prohibit such additional
regulatory requirements.

2. That in recommending the imple-
mentation of the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan, any negative
economic impacts to private landholder
interests participating in the Plan would
be avoided.

3. That concurrent with the process to
prepare the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan, non-regulatory,
voluntary, incentive-based alternatives
shall be developed and made available
to private landowners.

4. That the conservation of lands for
the completion of the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan shall be
achieved through a variety of tech-
niques, including: purchase of fee;
purchase of less-than-fee; and non-
regulatory, incentive-based alternatives
with private landowners.



MAJOR GOALS

4 Complete the process resulting in a
proposed State Land Conservation Plan
for Florida by March 1, 1997.

* Complete the conservation of the
lands within the State Land Conserva-
tion Plan through acquisition and non-


I..k


Page 6

















regulatory voluntary, incentive-based
alternative strategies within one year
from the expiration of Preservation
2000.

*- Integrate all of the state agencies
and water management districts into an
effective regional effort to complete the
State Land Conservation Plan in
coordination with local governments.

Aggressively seek the participation
of the state's private landowners,
citizens, regulated industries, media and
conservation interests for input, involve-
ment and completion of the State Land
Conservation Plan.

- Expand the use of alternative tools
for completing the State Land Conserva-
tion Plan including: purchase of less-
than-fee and development rights;
purchased or donated conservation
easements; mitigation banking; and tax
reform.

* Remove current impediments for
utilization of the above tools including
federal and state statutory reform, rule
modification, and establishing regula-
tory exemptions where applicable.

+ Concurrent with the process to
prepare the State Land Conservation
Plan, determine alternatives for manage-
ment of the public conservation lands,
including new organizations that could
draw the necessary disciplines from


public, private and not-for-profit
agencies and organizations to meet the
adopted management plans. These
alternatives could include: new coopera-
tive agreements; transfer of management
responsibilities to not-for-profit entities
and/or private sector organizations; and
constitutional or statutory changes. The
resulting actions should be based on
how to best manage the resources on a
regional basis without regard to the
current organizations charged with
management responsibility.

* Concurrent with the state conserva-
tion planning and management efforts,
develop a central database system at the
state and regional level that would
integrate all necessary information into
accessible and reportable formats.

* Relying on the above database,
require an annual report on both the
state and regional conservation efforts,
including lands conserved and remain-
ing to be conserved, funds expended
and available, as well as complete
management information with plans,
status and financial reports.

+: Ensure these databases are available
for public and private use, are integrated
into the state and local education
systems, and are provided at minimal or
no cost to the user.

+ Ensure that each of these recom-
mended efforts are consistent with, and


-ft.


Page 7














established on, the principals, findings
and recommendations of the Florida
Department of Environmental
Protection's Ecosystem Management
Initiative.



INTRODUCTION

Given the Subcommittee's charge and
the historic evolution of public acquisi-
tion programs in Florida, it became
apparent that focusing the review solely
on the water management districts
would not be a complete analysis of the
authority, effectiveness, benefits or
necessity of the state's current land
acquisition and management programs.
The realization that decades of evolution
and creation of state, regional and local
government agency acquisition pro-
grams have now culminated into four
state agencies, five water management
districts and over 20 local governments
implementing and funding the identifica-
tion, acquisition and management of
conservation lands, forced the Subcom-
mittee to broaden its review. (This does
not include any of the federal govern-
ment acquisition programs, which now
consists of the largest amount of public
land ownership in the state.)

Florida's growth management laws,
environmental regulation programs and
the combined conservation land acquisi-
tion programs are held out as one of the
most outstanding and progressive in the


nation. Yet, even with the benefits
derived from the combination of these
and public acquisition techniques, the
results are now being questioned by
even those responsible for their imple-
mentation and enforcement.

The evolution of the state's public land
acquisition programs began with the
creation of a state park system to ensure
that its citizens had public areas set aside
for recreation, hunting and conservation
activities. The water management
districts entered the acquisition process
for flood control; and the local govern-
ments, as a realization that local or state
growth management programs were not
protecting conservation lands from the
ever-advancing march of urban sprawl
and development. The expansion of
statutory authority, rulemaking, local
government ordinances, and referen-
dums have now greatly increased the
charge and criteria utilized to implement
public acquisition programs. And, what
of the results?

Public ownership of conservation lands
in Florida is estimated at approximately
7.7 million acres. Based on the current
multiple conservation plans by various
state agencies and the water manage-
ment districts, an estimate of an addi-
tional 6.3 million acres was identified for
the Subcommittee as necessary for
conservation purposes. If these plans are
fully implemented, the combined public
conservation lands in Florida could


p"


Page 8

















reach approximately 14 million acres.
(These estimates do not fully integrate
local government conservation pro-
grams, current or planned.)


At the conclusion of the Subcommittee's
review of these programs, it was appar-
ent that the current regulatory and
growth management systems of this state
have not achieved the results desired
and necessary to allow Florida to be a
sustainable state. Meaning that the
critical identification, integration, and
protection of Florida's remaining open
spaces, which will not require public
services or infrastructure costs and
which will provide the citizens of this
state an improved and ensured quality
of life, may be lost due to piecemeal
protection and the continued encroach-
ment of development.


Yet, in spite of the most aggressive
public lands acquisition program in the


has reported that nearly 100,000 acres
of private forestry lands are lost each
year. The United States Department of
Agriculture has reported that nearly
150,000 acres of critical agricultural
lands are converted to development in
Florida each year. Cumulatively, almost
3.2 million acres of agricultural lands
have been lost since 1974. Florida's
private landowners, agricultural inter-
ests and forestry operators have not
been sufficiently integrated into the
current system, rewarded for their good
stewardship, or been provided ad-
equate, economically-realistic alterna-
tives, other than fee sale to public
agencies or conversion for develop-
ment, to conserve their lands. In fact,
the current system provides disincen-
tives for these private landowners to
participate in the conservation of their
critical lands. The continuation of this
type of system will not serve Florida
wisely, nor will it provide the quality of
life the citizens of this


state expect and deserve
for their lives and the
lives of future genera-
tions.


There are approximately
d .lorGrowth *Pr.opomdc.in.,lo..s..I 37.5 million acres of land
________ ~within the State of
34.5 .nA*ra wdb-,Fn* rda
Florida according to the
Atlas ofFlorida. The
country, private agricultural and forestry Subcommittee heard that approximately
lands continue to be lost at unacceptable 7 million acres may be sovereign lands
rates. The Florida Division of Forestry and that approximately 7.7 million acres


Page 9


Florida's Future


UrbmA ow. Lu. pprod

ReaLng~I~
















are currently in public ownership. These
numbers are approximate due to, among
other factors, the inability of the Divi-
sion of State Lands to accurately
account for conservation lands held by
entities other than the State of Florida,
as well as lands held by the state for
other than conservation purposes.
Various factors contribute to this
uncertainty, not the least of which is that
no integrated information system
currently exists to defi-
nitely determine this
.ands number. Urban areas of
the state account for
i.,.... > approximately 7.8 million
acres of land and an
additional 5 million acres
will be required for the
growth and development
of those urban areas.
Finally, approximately 6.3
million acres have been
identified as needing to be conserved-
which leaves approximately 3.7 million
acres remaining.


Currently, numerous plans and reports
containing conflicting, insufficient, and
often inaccurate land use designations
are the cause for the existence of this
uncertainty.

Those lands identified as priority lands
needing to be conserved are presently
privately-owned and are in large part
current agricultural and forestry lands. If
a State Land Conservation Plan is not


prepared, implemented, and achieved,
this state faces an uncertain future. The
Southwest Florida Regional Planning
Council estimates that if the state is
allowed to grow into the densities
allowed in the currently-adopted
comprehensive plans, Florida's popula-
tion of approximately 14 million could
drastically increase to approximately 97
million people. Once again, the current
regulatory and growth management
systems have not, and cannot, ensure a
sustainable Florida. Yes, they have
contributed significantly to the improve-
ments in air and water quality, but these
achievements pale when faced with the
above statistics.


The current acquisition programs of the
federal, state, water management
districts and local governments are not
fully integrated, nor effectively coordi-
nated to take advantage of the expertise,
resources, and funding sources of each
agency. Currently over four state
agencies, five water management
districts, and over 20 local governments
who have enacted environmental land
programs, are acquiring, preserving,
restoring, and managing conservation
lands in the state. With this number of
entities involved in the process, and with
no integrated system to coordinate these
agencies, it is no wonder that the
Subcommittee heard, "How much is
enough?" The appearance is, and the
reality is, that no master plan is antici-
pated nor currently exists for the


Page 10


Public Conservation I


TItd ?.hA.U r-











0'
r :


conservation and preservation of critical
lands which are necessary to ensure a
sustainable Florida. These programs are
not fully integrated due also to the lack
of funding, and the single-purpose
missions of existing state land manage-
ment agencies. And because of these
narrow missions, the water management
districts have had to add personnel,
resources, and funds to fulfill their
responsibilities as land managers,
causing duplication of resources in many
instances.

The Subcommittee determined that in
order to properly evaluate the programs
and issue recommendations on the
future direction of these programs, it
had to begin with the determination of
what conservation lands are publicly-
owned today. During the compilation of
the data required to make this determi-
nation, testimony was received, as stated
previously, that today the state is
uncertain of exactly how much conser-
vation lands exists; and without addi-
tional resources, it may never know.
However, the Subcommittee requested
that the efforts continue based on
information supplied by the water
management districts, the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the
Florida Natural Areas Inventory, and
the Florida Greenways Commission.
The results of this compilation are
included in the appendix to this report
depicting the "Public Conservation
Lands in the State of Florida." The


compilation also includes
Water
federal lands and military
installations, and potential
state acquisitions. This
undertaking, and the effort
involved, highlights the
necessity for a critical M"'
review of public land
acquisition and manage- | -
ment programs and the
completion of a final State
Land Conservation Plan.

The question then became, "What is still
needed to ensure a sustainable Florida?"
The Subcommittee was told that
approximately another 6.3 million acres
has been identified by various state
agencies and the water management
districts as needing to be conserved.
With this information isolated for the
Subcommittee, the necessity of develop-
ing a process that would lead to the
completion of a State Land Conserva-
tion Plan became a primary objective of
the Subcommittee. But the process must
not end with this Subcommittee's effort.
As the reader will see throughout the
report, the tools and capabilities exist
today to conserve the lands needed for a
State Land Conservation Plan. However,
the obstacles to this achievement are
numerous, including inefficient land
acquisition procedures by some state
agencies, insufficient funding, and
inaccurate or nonexistent data. These
obstacles can be overcome and the goal
of completing a State Land Conserva-


Management District
and Ownership


em


I N.H .ma *Wr Cmm.... A


Page 11


I
















tion Plan can be reached. This report
seeks to elucidate these obstacles and
provide recommendations for the
accomplishment of this and other goals.



THE PROCESS

In order to begin this process, and
encourage and ensure the participation
of the private landowners and citizens,
the Subcommittee proposes that the
water management districts, in coordina-
tion with the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, appropriate
state agencies and local governments
implementing land acquisition pro-
grams, initiate a process, by March 1,
1996, by identifying and communicating
with the landowners on the State of
Florida's Conservation and Recreation
Lands (CARL) program list, the water
management districts' Save Our Rivers/
Preservation 2000 five-year plans, and
the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission "Closing the Gaps" report.
To date, at least seven separate plans,
each with its own accompanying map,
have been developed and created
without sufficient coordination with, or
cooperation from, the private landown-
ers, and agricultural and forestry
interests, whose lands are included in
these plans and on these maps. Since
these multiple plans and maps continue
to proliferate, it is the Subcommittee's
intention that, with the process resulting


in implementation of a final State Land
Conservation Plan, the private landown-
ers will not only have the choice to
participate in the process and remain
included in the Plan, but will be the
driving force to bring the Plan to
fruition.

The process contemplates the following
steps:

1. The water management districts,
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion and Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission, in coordination with
local governments within each water
management district, will compile and
integrate their existing water manage-
ment district five-year plans; CARL list;
and Closing the Gaps in Florida's Wildlfe
Habitat Conservation System report;

2. The appropriate agency identifies
and communicates with affected land-
owners describing this process and
requesting and encouraging landowners'
voluntary participation;

3. Appropriate agencies communicate
with each landowner to determine
whether or not they wish their lands be
included in the State Land Conservation
Plan;
If response is "no," then the
lands are, removed from the
appropriate plans) and not
included in the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan;


Page 12

















If response is "yes," then the
lands are included;

4. Regional portions of the State
Land Conservation Plan including only
those landowners willing to participate
are then integrated from the above
information based on water manage-
ment district boundaries;

5. The regional portions of the Plan
are then submitted to the respective
governing bodies for adoption.

6. Subsequent to the public hearings
held before the governing bodies, each
agency shall file their land conservation
plan with the Secretary of the Depart-
ment of Environmental Protection by
February 1, 1997. The Department shall
integrate the five regional plans into the
State Land Conservation Plan which
shall be filed with the Legislature by
March 1, 1997.

Annually thereafter, each agency
shall file with the Secretary of the
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion a report of the implementation
activity, together with modifications to
their respective regional plans. The
plans shall also include a description of
land management activity.

The process would be implemented
through direct communication with
private landowners, public hearings and
workshops during the year from March


1, 1996 to March 1, 1997

At the conclusion of this time, the
resulting proposed Plan would be
submitted to the Legislature for review
as the official State Land Conservation
Plan. But that is not the final result The
final result would be the accomplish-
ment of the conservation and protection
of those identified lands within one year
of the expiration of Preservation 2000.
This will contribute significantly to a
sustainable Florida and will finally
answer the question, "How much is
enough?"

During presentations to the Subcommit-
tee, several local governments described
their processes of identifying, prioritiz-
ing and attempting to acquire the lands
necessary for conservation within their
communities. The Subcommittee
recognized that a common element of
these local plans was that the motivation
of private citizens, landowners, conser-
vation interests and the local govern-
ments, provided the driving force for the
development and implementation of
these plans throughout The Subcom-
mittee concluded that if such plans
within local jurisdictions can achieve
such goals, so should the State of Forida.

Even with this motivation and citizen
input, all parties realized that local bond
referendums would be insufficient to
accomplish their task and sought and
received partnerships with the water


ts


Page 73

















management districts and the state. This
interaction creates alternative funding
sources for these plans replacing the
necessity of ad valorem tax increases.

The availability of public participation
in the identification, prioritization,
acquisition, and management of conser-
vation lands is an issue the Subcommit-
tee recognized as vital to the success of
finalizing a State Land Conservation
Plan. The existing points of entry for
community involvement for the water
management districts have been summa-
rized in chart form and included as an
appendix hereto. The points identified,
while appearing to be numerous, are not
widely known nor fully integrated for
consistent, ready access for an ordinary
citizen not familiar with the likes of the
Florida Administrative Weekly publica-
tions.

The Subcommittee identified, as one of
its recommended major goals, the
establishment of a process for citizen
involvement during the year of complet-
ing the plan and subsequently in the
implementation of that plan. Therefore,
it is critical to formulate an integrated
system for community and individual
citizen involvement in conservation
lands decisions. Significant coordination
must be implemented to assure that this
communication exists.

The process contemplated is simple. The
owners of the lands are identified and


asked to participate by listening to the
explanation for the proposed inclusion
of their lands into the State Land
Conservation Plan and then responding.
If their response is that they do not want
their lands in the Plan-that is the result
However, it is the Subcommittee's hope
that with all parties communicating, that
the goal of the adoption and completion
of a State Land Conservation Plan can
be achieved. The ultimate recognition
throughout is that the process and the
resulting plan is voluntary. It cannot be
implemented without the consent of the
landowner. The Plan is not to encourage
or escalate regulatory requirements-just
the opposite. This Plan is to protect and
conserve those lands necessary to create
a sustainable Florida, and to provide
balance to the regulatory requirements
now imposed.


During this year, the process would
result in a proposed State Land Conser-
vation Plan. Simultaneously with the
communication process described
above, the primary conservation
purpose must be identified for those
lands to be included in the Plan. For
example, if a parcel is necessary prima-
rily for flood control purposes, then this
purpose would identify the lead acquisi-
tion agency which could be the water
management district, who then might
also be the lead agency for its manage-
ment However, if a parcel is necessary
as a buffer and is forestry-producing
land, then it could remain so under a


.~-


Page 14

















less-than-fee acquisition. The Depart-
ment of Agriculture and Consumer
Services might then be designated as the
lead management agency. This process
of identification for conservation and
management, and prioritization would
be interwoven with the communication
between agencies, landowners and the
public, with data communicated to both
a regional and a central state repository.



THE PLAN

Once the process is completed, the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan
is then integrated into regional portions
of the State Land Conservation Plan
based on water management district
boundaries. The Plan would be adopted
by the respective water management
district governing boards and then
submitted to the Legislature for review.
Concurrent with the process of formulat-
ing the Plan, the water management
districts and the Department of Environ-
mental Protection, in coordination with
representatives of agriculture, forestry,
conservation interests, local govern-
ments, private landowners and indi-
vidual citizens will be developing and
establishing non-regulatory, voluntary,
incentive-based alternatives to encour-
age the implementation and completion
of the final State Land Conservation
Plan.


Unanticipated federal or state mandates
to the water management districts or the
state may require amendment to the
Plan to answer specific issues. Therefore,
the Subcommittee recognizes the need
for the Plan to be flexible in order for
the agencies to be able to respond to
such mandates.

It is the recommendation of the Sub-
committee to continue funding of
Preservation 2000 to its completion. It is
also the Subcommittee's recommenda-
tion that the conservation of the lands
included in the Plan be completed
within one year of the expiration of
Preservation 2000.

During the Subcommittee review of the
water management district lands
programs, it became apparent that the
districts have the resources to be the
integral element in accumulating
information in the above-described
process. This information would be
received from the local governments
within each district, and then communi-
cated to a central repository. The
information received from these local
governments would serve to complete
not only the State Land Conservation
Plan, but in the interim would provide a
tracking mechanism toward the accom-
plishment of that goal. The districts
could then submit the data collected to
the Division of State Lands for compila-
tion and to be the central repository of


Page 15

















this information. Public access to the
data must be made available at all levels.
This will also assist in the accomplish-
ment of the Plan.

A critical element necessary for the
completion of the State Land Conserva-


Water Management Districts/
Department of Environmental Protection
Timetable for Land Acquisition

CARL WNs
M1NMAUM MAXIMUM MAmIAU MAnIMUM
DAYS DAYS DAYS DAYS


365 910 Project approval 30 364


5 14 Receive requestlidentification 5 14
(in approved project area)


Order and review appraisals,
83 184 tide information and survey, 48 III
and establish value


Prepare documents, legal
26 65 review and make offer 9 32


37 51 BoardlCabinet approval 10 45


Final survey, environmental
105 135 audit, document preparation 48 105
and legal counsel approval


621 1,359 Closing 150 671
(1.7yrs) (3.7 yrs) (Total number of days) (0.4 yrs) (1.8yrs)


Page 16


tion Plan is the recognition of the
amount of federally-owned lands in the
state-both in the form of conservation
lands and military installations. Many of
these military lands are of high ecologi-
cal and open space value. With the
advent of military base closures, many
critical conservation lands may be lost
to the state due to lack of an established
procedure for the state to attempt to
conserve those lands prior to develop-
ment. Obviously it would be optimal if
public-private partnerships would be
formed to acquire and conserve these
lands for their conservation value.
However, to lose those lands and their
conservation value to development will
severely undermine the objective of a
sustainable Florida. The Subcommittee,
therefore, recognizes the essential need
for the cooperation of the federal
government in establishing a process for
the state to conserve these lands.



THE IMPEDIMENTS

The Subcommittee reviewed the land
acquisition procedures required to be
utilized by both the water management
districts and the state agencies. It is
apparent that one of the obstacles to
completing a final State Land Conserva-
tion Plan is that the state agencies'
procedures are cumbersome, and

















therefore not as effective as the water
management districts' procedures.


The chart on this page shows the
differences in the processes-one of the
underlying causes that the state acquisi-
tion programs lag behind in achieving
their goals. The Subcommittee recog-
nizes and understands that the state's
procedures were instituted for reasons
long since remedied; however it must
also be acknowledged that these proce-
dures are arcane and ineffective to
accomplish the task of conserving lands
for the State of Florida. The result has
been a backlog of an accumulation of
funds not expended by the state due to
the length of time required to acquire a
parcel of land. These obstacles to
effective land acquisition and manage-
ment were identified in a report to the
then-Speaker of the House of Represen-
tatives, T. K. Wetherall. The time has
arrived for "common sense" to prevail
and allow the agencies responsible for
programs to operate them in the most
effective and efficient manner possible.
What better protection could the public
have than the proper and timely use of
its monies?


In a report prepared by the Land
Acquisition Committee of the
Governor's Greenways Commission, the
first identified issue was that a policy
change needed to be implemented
establishing a central repository of land
acquisition information within the


Division of State Lands of the Depart-
ment of Environmental Protection. The
report further recommended that the
repository consist of a standardized
database and maps to establish a
geographic information system that
accurately monitors all land acquisition
activities throughout the state. This is
another entity whose report and
recommendations the Subcommittee
reviewed in its deliberations, and which
arrived at similar conclusions as the
Subcommittee.

Also within this same report was the
identification of the obstacle of
proactively identifying lands to be
included on a conservation lands list or
map. The obstacle being the concern of


Florida P2000 Status
as of September 30, 1995

PROCEEDS CASH BANCE CASH BAL LeSS
AGENCY & EARNMG As or 9130/95 ENCUMI.ANCES

DEP-State Lands $713,659,448 $215,105,630 $169,689,815

DEP-Rec. & Parks 42,772515 23,75,155 17,012055

DEP-Rails to Trails 19,815,857 17,770,083 17,770,083

WMDs 430,979,968 147,507,050 106,035,751

DCA 152,006,324 117,057.727 40.943,605

FG&FWFC 42.437.847 19.103.074 18.231,474

DACS-Forestry 43,324.405 20.926,907 18,694,907

TOTaAL $1,444.996,363 $561,045,625 $388,377,688


Page 17

















property owners that this identification
devalued their property, simply by
inclusion in this process. One of the
reasons presumed for this concern was
the length of time the land remained on
a list due to the inordinate length of
time it took the state to acquire the
property. This accentuates the need to
complete the Plan within a reasonable
length of time. This time frame recom-
mended is one year after the expiration
of Preservation 2000.

The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission's Closing the Gaps in
Florida's Wildlif Habitat Conservation
System published in 1994 is a report
describing habitat areas in Florida which
it suggested should be conserved as
maintenance of key components of the
state's biological diversity. The report
utilized geographic datasets generated
by a computerized geographic informa-
tion system creating distribution maps
for selected species of wildlife, threat-
ened species of plants and rare plant
communities. The areas were identified
on the map as "strategic habitat conser-
vation areas." These areas totaled
approximately 4.8 million acres, or
about 13 percent of the land area in the
state. All of these lands are privately
owned.

The report is a scientific compilation of
information which itself states, "...should
be used be used as a layer of information
which decisions are made concerning


land acquisition, land use planning, and
development regulation." [emphasis
added] However, the report does not
seem to have been intended to be used
as a regulatory criteria in and of itself.
But rather as a guided "...to decision-
makers involved in public land acquisi-
tion, land use planning, development
regulation, and other conservation
effort." The report also was not to
advocate the acquisition in fee simple of
the strategic habitat conservation areas.
But rather, once again to quote the
report,


"In fact, the management of rildlif
habitat on many private lands has been
excellent, and ... conservation measures
should focus on maintaining existing land
uses on private lands through positive
incentives such as tax breaks, conservation
easements or cooperative agreements with
landowners. These tecniques have the
potential to provide adequate protection
without the need for fe simple acquisition
by the state."

Because this report was a scientific
study, not meant to become a criterion
in and of itself, it had little to no public
participation. One could surmise this
occurred to exclude the landowners, or
one could presume this was due to the
acknowledgment that ifthe study was to
become regulatory criteria, it would
have to be adopted by rule and then
would provide for public comment and
amendment as necessary.


'i>


Page 18

















In either case, the report has generated
significant mistrust by private landown-
ers of state mapping efforts for conser-
vation purposes. In fact, some contend
that its existence has resulted in
increased regulatory criteria, inability
or difficulty to acquire necessary
permits for development, and even in
decreased property values.

The Subcommittee recognizes these
concerns and seeks to avoid these
results due to the implementation of its
recommendations. Rather, in proposing
the process to prepare the State Land
Conservation Plan, the Subcommittee
recommends no lands be identified for
conservation purposes in the Plan
without the express consent of the
landowner. The Subcommittee believes
this process will result in a consensus-
based State Land Conservation Plan
supported by the development of
voluntary, non-regulatory, incentive-
based alternatives to complete the
conservation of lands to be included in
the Plan.

The result needs to be that, once and
for all, a State Land Conservation Plan
must be completed; that to create this


plan, a process must be implemented
which will engage citizens, private
landowners, local governments, public
agencies, nonprofit organizations,
regulated industries and environmental
advocates. Then, and only then, will
Florida be able to answer the question,
"How much is enough?"

The full impact of allowing lands to
develop according to the maximum
density allowed by current comprehen-
sive plans has not been adequately
addressed. Nowhere does this become
more evident than in a recent report
that stated that if all of the 67 counties
were allowed to be "built-out" to the
intensity designated in each county's
comprehensive plan, the state could
expect the population to expand from
the current 14 million to 97 million
people. Florida obviously would not
only be unsustainable, but it would be
saddled with a quality of life not able to
be identified as having anything to do
with "quality." However, with proper
planning and the completion of a State
Land Conservation Plan, a sustainable
Florida would be a reality and would
serve its citizens, both present and
future, with sustainable growth.


""emi


Page 19














Land


Acquisition and


Funding


ISSUES

4* Do the water management districts
possess the requisite statutory authority
to implement and fund land acquisition
and management programs?

-- Are public land acquisition pro-
grams adequately integrated to ensure
efficient implementation?

+ Have the water management
districts land acquisitions resulted in
adverse impacts to local government tax
revenues?

* Does an integrated plan for the
conservation of the state's natural
resources currently exist?

+* Is sufficient funding available to
complete a final State Land Conserva-
tion Plan?

*- Have private landowners, agricul-
ture and forestry interests been ad-
equately integrated into the current
public land acquisition programs?


+: Do the current public land acquisi-
tion programs provide incentives to
private landowners to participate?


SUBCOMMITTEE
FINDINGS

Statutory Autority

*- The water management districts do
possess the statutory authority to
implement and fund the current land
acquisition and management programs.

Acquisition Integration

0* With at least four state agencies, five
water management districts and over 20
local governments attempting to identify,
acquire and manage conservation lands,
the current systems are not fully integrated
nor effectively coordinated.

* The lack of a centralized system for
conservation lands data and mapping
information has resulted in inadequate
conservation lands reporting.


Page 20

















* Currently the water management
districts appear to be the most effective
organizations for the planning and
implementation of land acquisition
programs.

- No formal process exists for the
coordination between all agencies for fully
integrated land acquisition programs.

4: The current processes have not
adequately integrated private landown-
ers, citizens or communities into land
conservation programs and decisions.

Tax Impacts on Local Government

* While the public perception seems
otherwise, the statewide impact of all
water management district acquisitions
on local governments' tax bases is
minimal. However, the implication of
these acquisitions to small, rural
counties may be disproportionate when
compared to more intensely developed
counties. To offset any tax base erosion
in small counties with populations of
less than 75,000, the districts are
currently required by statute to make
payments in lieu of taxes to those
counties for lands purchased with either
Save Our Rivers or Preservation 2000
funds. These payments, though, are
provided to the county for only ten
years from purchase. Water manage-
ment district purchases since 1980 have
resulted in an impact on annual local
tax revenues of approximately $3.7


million or less than $4.70 per acre
statewide.

* Inadequate information currently
exists to demonstrate the full economic
benefits of conservation lands and the
protection of the natural resources on
the state or local governments. How-
ever, the cost avoidance of the state and
local governments from providing the
capital costs for infrastructure and public
facilities, as well as the saving from not
providing services to the conservation
areas is believed to be significant

Integrated Conservation Planning

+: Numerous plans, including a major
conservation lands database, currently
exist for conservation lands including:
the Florida State Land Acquisition Plan;
the Conservation and Recreation
Conservation Plan Lands (CARL) list;
the water management districts' Save
Our Rivers/Preservation 2000 five-year
plans; the Florida Greenways Commis-
sion Report, the Division of State Lands
parks addition plan; the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission's
Closing the Gaps in Florida's Wlrdlife
Habitat Conservation System; the Florida
Natural Areas Inventory; and untold
local government plans. However, a
fully integrated and fully supported
State Land Plan does not exist

4 The lack of a final State Land
Conservation Plan creates uncertainty


Page 27

















and mistrust by private landowners,
agricultural and forestry interests,
regulated industries, and citizens of the
ever-expanding and changing public
conservation programs.


o Many local communities and their
citizens have supported conservation lands
programs as evidenced by the over 20
local communities that have enacted
environmental lands acquisition programs.

Funding

4 While an accurate estimate exists for
managed conservation lands, the Division


of State Lands indicates that it does not
possess sufficient resources to accurately
identify all conservation lands currently
owned by the state. The state also owns
other lands, such as sovereignty sub-
merged lands, that are not included under


active management, and
therefore have not been
quantified. A full account-
ing of these lands is
underway.

* Local government
referendums and bonding
for environmental land
acquisition programs have
added approximately $1
billion of local govern-
ment funding for conser-
vation lands programs.

4 The success of local
government conservation
programs has been
enhanced, to a great
degree, by matching
funding and assistance


from state agencies and the water
management districts to implement their
programs.

S The present state agency proce-
dures for the identification and acquisi-
tion of conservation lands is continuing
to cause significant delays in the timely
and cost-effective acquisition of conser-
vation lands. This process has resulted


Local Preservation Programs


COUNTYrlCrr REVENUE AMOUNT REVENUE SOURCE

Boca Raton $12 million bonid issue .250 rinilagead vilorem
Brevard $55 million bond issue .250 mileage ad valorem increase
BmOWRD $75 .MUON .250M LAGEADVOwM _
DAD $75 mluON .250 nuiAGE AD VALORE
DUVIL .." $13.5 MiUON CEiki-B MCOGlBinOi PLAN
Flagler $7.8 million bond issue 2-yr .750 village ad valorem
Hernando $300,000 per year Annual appropriaton
Hillsborough $100 million bond issue .250 millage ad valorem
Indian River $26 million bond issue -5 milhge ad valorem
Lee $2.5 million annual approp. Ad valorem taxes
Marion $20 miul6n b id .00 mailaj ad valor.
Martin $20 million bond issue .625 milage ad valorem
Monroe $r mliori anna y: Res ta staiai iruid. ar.
Orange $25 million bond issue $2 million from Public Service Tax-

Palm Beach $100 million bond issue .250 mileage ad vaorem
Pinellas $68 million bond issuee $.0I local sas tax
Polk $20 million bond issue .250 millage ad valorem
Seminoe $20 nmiloi bond i s 25i0 i aga orm
St. Lucie $20 million bond issue .250 mileage ad valorem
Vohusia $20 million b6nd.issue .250 il Bagd vori_ e


Page 22
















statutorily authorized and shall not be
used or incorporated by reference into
any regulatory rules or programs.

3. Require the Department of
Environmental Protection to establish a
procedure, including public and private
access, for data exchange between water
management districts and local govern-
ments and to create regional and state
repositories of conservation land data.

4. Authorize the Department of
Environmental Protection to expand the
use of water management districts and
their procedures for the acquisition of
CARL and other Preservation 2000
programs for which funding is available
to include lands purchased with 100
percent state funds, where requested by
the water management districts.

5. Encourage the fastest and fullest
implementation of Chapter 94-240,
Laws of Florida (CS/HB 161), to
facilitate acquisition of the necessary
interests in lands identified in the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan.

6. Recommend that the Legislature
enact statutory revisions to remove any
impediments to the state from fully
participating in the above process.

7. Direct the water management
districts to recognize and integrate local
governments within their jurisdiction to


fully integrate those acquisition pro-
grams into district plans.

8. Recommend that the Legislature
continue funding of Preservation 2000
to its completion.

9. Recommend that the Legislature
direct appropriate state agencies to
amend their rules and procedures to
efficiently implement their land acquisi-
tion programs to utilize available funds
and eliminate the existing backlog.

10. Require an annual report from the
water management districts and appro-
priate state agencies published and
submitted to the Governor, President of
the Senate and Speaker of the House of
Representatives, on progress achieved
during that year toward completing the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan.

11. Require the Department of
Environmental Protection to coordinate
and establish a formalized integrated
process to fully coordinate and integrate
public and not-for-profit land acquisition
for conservation lands programs.

12. Request the Legislature to pass a
resolution asking the Florida Congres-
sional Delegation to encourage Con-
gress' cooperation with the state for
conservation of federal lands not
currently protected for conservation
purposes.


Page 24

















13. Direct the Department of Environ-
mental Protection, the Department of
Community Affairs, the water manage-
ment districts, and the state university
system to complete an economic
analysis of the relative cost benefits of
public conservation programs, as
compared to development in accordance
with approved local government
comprehensive plans.

14. Direct the water management
districts, Department of Environmental
Protection and the Florida Game and
Fresh Water Fish Commission, in
coordination with appropriate local
governments, to initiate the following
process to achieve a final State Land
Conservation Plan:

1. The water management districts,
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion and Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission, in coordination with
local governments within each water
management district, will compile and
integrate their existing water manage-
ment district five-year plans; CARL list;
and Closing the Gap mi Flrida's Wildlife
Habitat Consrvation Sysem report;

2. The appropriate agency identifies
and communicates with affected land-
owners describing this process and
requesting and encouraging landowners'
voluntary participation;


3. Appropriate agencies communicate
with each landowner to determine
whether or not they wish their lands be
included in the State Land Conservation
Plan;
If response is "no," then the
lands are removed from the
appropriate plans) and not
included in the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan;
If response is "yes," then the
lands are included;

4. Regional portions of the State
Land Conservation Plan including only
those landowners willing to participate
are then integrated from the above
information based on water manage-
ment district boundaries;

5. The regional portions of the Plan
are then submitted to the respective
governing bodies for adoption.

6. Subsequent to the public hearings
held before the governing bodies, each
agency shall file their land conservation
plan with the Secretary of the Depart-
ment of Environmental Protection by
February 1, 1997 The Department shall
integrate the five regional plans into the
State Land Conservation Plan which
shall be filed with the Legislature by
March 1, 1997.

Annually thereafter, each agency
shall file with the Secretary of the


Page 25

















Department of Environmental Protec-
tion a report of the implementation
activity, together with modifications to
their respective regional plans. The
plans shall also include a description of
land management activity.



15. Direct the water management
districts, in coordination with the
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion, to meet with representatives from
agriculture, forestry and conservation
interests, and regulated industries to
identify and develop non-regulatory,
voluntary, incentive-based alternatives
to encourage participation in the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan.

16. Direct the water management
districts, in coordination with the
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion, to evaluate existing tax law to
identify existing incentives, and develop
and seek implementation of alternative
state and local tax incentives for land-
owners participating in the proposed
State Land Conservation Plan.

17. Direct the Department of Environ-
mental Protection to coordinate with the
Office of the Auditor General regarding


land acquisition procedures to identify
and implement more effective land
conservation programs.

18. Identify, prepare and recommend
statutory and rule amendments neces-
sary to implement the Subcommittee's
recommendations including the submis-
sion of these amendments to the
Legislature for the 1996 session. Estab-
lish Commission coordination with
House and Senate Natural Resources
Committees and House and Senate
Select Committees on Water Policy for
appropriate recommendations.

19. Recommend that the Legislature
support and enact the appropriate
statutory amendments necessary to
implement the findings and consensus
recommendations of the Subcommittee
developed during the Water Manage-
ment District Review Commission's
tenure.

20. Recommend the continuance of
the Commission or some other body
consisting of similar representation to
ensure the implementation of the
Committee's major goals and recom-
mendations.


Page 26

















Less-Than-Fee


Acquisition


first, the Subcommittee needed to
know how much. Then it needed
to know: How much more? Now
the questions remain: How does Florida
accomplish the identified needs? What
conservation techniques are most
appropriate; and how will this be
funded? It is obvious that these needs
cannot continue to be met primarily by
the acquisition of fee simple interests in
land. This is too costly and does not
recognize the economic and environ-
mental benefits that less-than-fee
acquisition, in its many forms, can allow
and continue to provide.

The lands which currently have been
identified as priority lands are in private
ownership. The majority of these lands
are in agricultural and forestry uses or
ownership. The good stewardship 0
reflected by the owners of these lands
must be recognized and rewarded with
incentive-based programs to encourage
their continued and heightened partici-
pation in the conservation lands pro-
gram. Many of these lands can continue
in their present uses for conservation,
using less-than-fee techniques. This


accomplishes two goals towards reach-
ing a sustainable state-the conservation
of critical lands necessary for wildlife
habitat, resource protection and open
space; and the continuation and estab-
lishment of environmentally-compatible,
economically-beneficial activities. With
these goals, comes the responsibilities of
ensuring the conservation of these lands
through cooperative management efforts
and the avoidance, even prohibition, of
further regulatory initiatives. Private
landowners must be assured that their
voluntary participation in the proposed
State Land Conservation Plan will not
subject their lands, to heightened
regulatory scrutiny or property value
decrease; but rather will provide
recognition of, and cooperation in, their
conservation stewardship ethic and
recognition of the value of these priority
lands.

The current public conservation lands
programs are voluntary. The proposed
State Land Conservation Plan is volun-
tary. The lands are in private ownership.
It stands to reason then that incentive-
based alternative programs must be


Page 27














developed and implemented to encour-
age the participation of private landown-
ers in the completion of the proposed
State Land Conservation Plan.


Without this proposed State Land
Conservation Plan, estimating the
necessary funding required to achieve
the conservation and protection of these
critical lands is impossible. Based on
current estimates, the continuation of
Preservation 2000 funding through the
life of the program is critical to complet-
ing the State Land Conservation Plan. It
is anticipated that current funding will
not generate sufficient funds to achieve
the State Land Conservation Plan, and
that alternative, voluntary incentive-base
conservation strategies for achieving the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan
must be generated and developed.
Historically, land acquisition programs
have been to a large extent, just that-
acquisition programs. Alternative
strategies, such as the purchase of less-
than-fee interests, significant tax reform,
purchase of development rights, and
conservation easements must be ex-
plored, implemented and fully utilized
in order to achieve the goal of the
completion of the State Land Conserva-
tion Plan. Current mapping efforts by
various agencies to identify lands critical
for conservation purposes have collec-
tively resulted in identifying approxi-
mately 6.3 million acres. It is unreason-
able to expect that all of these lands are
necessary to be in public ownership due


to the funding which would be required,
and the other compatible uses which
those lands could provide, such as
agriculture or silviculture. Achieving the
conservation objectives of the state will
require both alternative, voluntary,
incentive-based programs for rewarding
private landowners for managing lands
consistent with conservation objectives
and concurrent continuation of public,
fee-simple purchases of priority conser-
vation areas.

The water management districts have
recently begun to recognize the useful-
ness of the less-than-fee techniques. For
example, new operating procedures,
major less-than-fee acquisitions, and
alternative, incentive-based programs
have been instituted. The time for
studying and being reticent to utilize
these tools has passed. The acquisition
mentality of the various programs has
served the state with the direction that
was given; however, with the recogni-
tion that private landowners can, and
do, manage their lands with conserva-
tion ethics and with further specific
guidance from the land management
agencies to these landowners, an even
higher degree of accomplishment for
conservation will be achieved. A State
Land Conservation Plan must be
completed, and soon-not someday,
within one year from the expiration of
Preservation 2000. To accomplish this
goal, all public lands acquisition and
management programs, including local


I-^


Page 28














Ln
- don
4 4 A" -


governments, must look to the utiliza-
tion of less-than-fee acquisition tech-
niques to receive and provide the most
economic and environmental benefits.



ISSUES

*- Have less-than-fee techniques been
maximized to the appropriate extent?

4* What changes are necessary to
direct the water management districts
and other land management and
acquisition agencies to maximize the use
of less-than-fee acquisition?



SUBCOMMITTEE
FINDINGS

* The state agencies and water
management districts have not fully
utilized the less-than-fee protection
techniques to achieve the state's conser-
vation goals; although, several of the
water management districts have now
implemented, or are planning to
implement, policies to better utilize less-
than-fee.

* Current statutes, rules and policies
allow most state and water management
district acquisition programs to utilize
less-than-fee techniques; however,
specific provisions, including public
access requirements and bonding
restrictions on Preservation 2000


acquisitions limit the maximized use of
this conservation tool.

* Information on the abilities of local
government environmental land acquisi-
tion programs to utilize less-than-fee
techniques has not been scertained to
determine the need to further encourage
local government programs to better
integrate less-than-fee into their programs.

* Other than public lands not cur-
rently protected for conservation
purposes, any additional lands necessary
to complete a State Land Conservation
Plan are currently in private ownership.
The overwhelming majority of these are
in agricultural or forestry ownership or
land uses. These lands contribute to
local government tax revenues, provide
employment for local communities,
provide sustainable economic and life-
giving commodities, maintain most of
the state's remaining natural resources,
provide habitat for wildlife, groundwater
recharge, and when combined, remain
one of the state's largest economic
engines. It is projected that these private
lands require far less in public services
than the ad valorem tax revenue they
generate.

* The stewardship provided for
generations by agricultural and forestry
landowners to maintain natural re-
sources has not been rewarded. In fact,
the disincentives created by the federal,
state, regional and local governments'


Page 29















growth management, tax impacts and
environmental programs are driving
these sustainable land uses into unsus-
tainable and irreversible urban land
uses.

- Major incentives and voluntary
programs to protect the state's natural
resources and open space by private
landowners are mandatory if the state's
conservation goals are to be achieved.
Statutory and rule amendments must be
proposed to maximize the utilization of
less-than-fee techniques.

- There is currently no consistent
system, criteria or methodology to guide
agencies for the evaluation and com-
parative analysis of public fee ownership
vs. less-than-fee.



MAJOR GOALS

4 Concurrent with the process to
propose completion of a State Land
Conservation Plan, develop and imple-
ment fair and consistent procedures for
use by state agencies, water management
districts and local government conserva-
tion lands programs that results in the
protection of private lands and the
natural resources they contain to the
maximum extent practicable with less-
than-fee techniques.


4 Establish and implement voluntary,
incentive-based initiatives which
integrate and encourage the participa-
tion of private landowners in these
voluntary conservation lands programs.



SUBCOMMITTEE
RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Specific provisions should be
included in Chapter 373, F S., to:
Clarify that public recreation is
encouraged but not mandated on lands
for which a less-than-fee interest is
acquired;
Require that access be afforded to
the districts adequate enough to enforce
the provisions of the less-than-fee
interest;
Ensure that no outstanding
interests in properties (such as mineral
interest or mortgages) continue or are
superior to the less-than-fee interest
acquired which could compromise the
purpose for which the less-than-fee is
acquired; and
Require the lead acquisition
agency perform a baseline inventory, at
their expense, be conducted on each
property prior to acquisition of a
conservation easement

2. Require the water management
districts to modify their current acquisi-
tion programs as follows:


Page 30

















By March, 1997, any lands
included in the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan which require a full
fee interest to achieve water manage-
ment goals shall be identified.
For those lands pursued for
acquisition not requiring full fee interest,
and for which the landowner is willing
to sell a less-than-fee interest which
meets the district's objectives, a cost/
benefit analysis shall be completed
between fee and less-than-fee which
includes:
acquisition;
management;
impact to the tax revenue of
the local government; and
revenue potential from the
land compatible revenue-
generating activities.

In general, the option which is the least
present value/cost should be pursued.
Exceptions to this shall be required to
include a justification.

3. The water management districts and
the Department of Environmental
Protection shall include in the annual
State Land Conservation Plan report
published and submitted to the Gover-
nor, President of the Senate and Speaker
of the House of Representatives, an
annual report on less-than-fee acquisi-
tions, obstacles encountered to its use


and suggested resolutions, including
recommended statutory amendments.


4. Request the Legislature to direct the
appropriate state agencies to adopt and
implement the same criteria and
procedures defined above for the
maximized utilization of less-than-fee
acquisition programs.

5. Direct the water management
districts and the Department of Environ-
mental Protection to complete an
inventory of their current lands by
October 1, 1996, which may be better
utilized to provide economic, as well as
environmental benefit Some of the
possible alternatives may include: sale of
surplus lands, land leases for compatible
land use activities and/or sale of lands
with restrictions to ensure original
purposes of acquisition are met

6. Direct the water management
districts and the Department of Environ-
mental Protection to review and evalu-
ate current appraisal methodologies.
Such review shall identify current
opportunities and impediments, and
propose amendments to fairly utilize
less-than-fee techniques.

7. Identify, prepare and recommend
statutory and rule amendments neces-
sary to implement the Subcommittee's


Page 31

















recommendations, including the
submission of these amendments to the
Legislature for the 1996 session.
Establish Commission coordination
with House and Senate Natural Re-
sources Committees and House and
Senate Select Committees on Water
Policy for appropriate recommenda-
tions.


8. Recommend that the Legislature
support and enact the appropriate
statutory amendments necessary to


implement the findings and consensus
recommendations of the Subcommittee
developed during the Water Manage-
ment District Review Commission's
tenure.


9. Recommend the continuance of
the Commission or some other body
consisting of similar representation to
ensure the implementation of the
Committee's major goals and recom-
mendations.


Page 32


'0

















Land


Management


An integral element of the
Subcommittee's review of the
water management districts'
land programs was whether the water
management districts effectively and
efficiently manage their lands. The
Subcommittee heard testimony which
alleged that once the districts acquired
their land, they did not manage it
properly. Part of the basis for this belief
was the cost-per-acre reported by the
water management districts for manag-
ing their lands. The private landowners
who operate income-generating activi-
ties on their lands, mostly agricultural,
stated that the reported figures could not
accurately reflect all costs. They be-
lieved this to be so based on their
experience of cost-per-acre management
which, when compared with the water
management districts, were upwards of
ten times higher.

The water management districts told the
Subcommittee they have sufficient funds
to manage their lands ifthe integrity of
the Water Management Lands Trust
Fund is ensured. Presently, the water
management districts are only allowed


to allocate 25 percent of monies re-
ceived from the Trust Fund for land
management. The South Florida Water
Management District has recommended
this percentage allocation be raised to 40
percent to allow it to continue to
implement proper exotic species control
on its lands. It is in this district that
exotic species pose the most significant
obstacles to proper land management.

The Water Management Lands Trust
Fund, is a non-lapsing fund established


for the
purposes of
land
acquisition,
manage-
ment,
mainte-
nance,
capital
improve-
ments,
payments in
lieu of taxes
and fund
administra-
tion. The


Water Management District
Land Management Activities
Included in Per-Acre Costs
Administration Reforestation

Boundary maintenance Road and fireline maint.

Environmental monitoring Security and enforcement

Habitat restoration Solid waste management
P_fS^S ^ WSr -_ ^-V
Inventory and planning Terrestrial exotic control

Land use management Wildfire suppression

Prescribed burning Wildlife management

Recreation management


Page 33















monies accumulated in the Fund are
received from a portion of the state
dc-cumentary stamp taxes collected.


The water management districts do
operate with constraints that private
landowners do not have placed upon
their activities. Section 373.59, Florida
Statutes, authorizes Save Our Rivers, the
districts' primary acquisition and
management program. This section
provides direction to the districts in
establishing priorities for their land
management objectives. These direc-
tions are:


4 The lands are first to provide "water
management, water supply, and the conserva-
tion and protection of water resources."


*- The lands are to be "managed and
maintained in an environmentally acceptable
manner and, to the extent practicable, in such
a way as to restore and protect their natural
state and condition."


and Trust Fund Finally,
st Share of district
t Allocation lands "s'all
be used for
general
*NWFWnM public
SSFWMo recreational
mSjtRWMD
oS'WMo purposes...to
-swFWMO the maxi-
SAll WHOD
mum extent
possible
considering
200344


the environmental sensitivity and suitability
of those lands."


"Public recreational purposes" may be
interpreted to require that all lands
owned by the water management
districts and purchased with funds from
the Water Management Lands Trust
Fund must have unlimited public access.
This requirement constrains the water
management districts from limiting or
prohibiting access to certain lands.
These public access limitations might be
justified if the lands acquired were by
less-than-fee or had lease-back provi-
sions in their contracts.


*1.49IJ7

Concern was raised that the manage-
ment and control of exotic species on
water management district-owned lands
was relegated to a low priority due to
the cost involved in this management.
Questions were raised as to why and if
the water management districts should
acquire lands with this high level of
intense management required. And if
acquired, how would they pay for this


Page 34


Water Management L
Management Co
SOR Managemen


I
FT


FT 1994-95

















management? Recognition must be
given to the regional differences of the
districts in their management require-
ments. For example, the control of
exotic species, though important to all
districts, is of tantamount concern and
expense in the South Florida Water
Management District This district has
recognized that this management will be
costly, although they anticipate they will
be able to fund the required manage-
ment if the integrity of the Water
Management Lands Trust Fund is
ensured, and if the percentage allowed to
be utilized for land management is
increased.

Each of the water management districts
have either adopted land management
rules or Governing Board policies for
the administration of their land manage-
ment programs. In addition, the water
management districts have imple-
mented, to various degrees, land
management planning processes. This
planning generally occurs in two stages:
conceptual planning prepared at the
time of acquisition and detailed plan-
ning prepared as site-specific resource
data has been collected. The water
management districts have stated that
conceptual plans exist for all district
lands. The comparison of the processes
between districts as follows:


St. Johns River Water
Management District
The District prepares a preacquisition
assessment and a management assess-
ment at the time of acquisition. A
conceptual management plan is com-
pleted for all properties within one year
of acquisition. The conceptual manage-
ment plan identifies tasks associated
with resource issues, land use issues and
public recreation. It is designed to direct
the management of the property for
three to five years, and is used to
develop the annual work plan and
budget

South Florida Water
Management District
The District begins preparation of a
conceptual management plan for a large
project at the time it is identified for
acquisition. The process continues
during the acquisition of parcels within
the project Conceptual plans form the
basis for more task-specific operational
management plans with a three- to five-
year planning horizon. A parallel
process may be employed for individual
parcels, particularly when they are to be
managed by a cooperating agency.

Suwannee River Water
Management District
The District develops a brief conceptual
management plan for each parcel to be


Page 35
















acquired. This plan is presented to the
Governing Board prior to approval of a
purchase agreement It remains in effect
until a resource management plan is
prepared for the project area in which
the parcel is located. The Governing
Board policies contained in Land
Management Issue and Objecives provide
additional direction in the interim.

Northwest Florida Water
Management District
The District has also adopted detailed
land management policies that guide.
management while detailed resource
inventories are underway. Detailed
project management plans will be
developed when the data collection is
completed. The District has established
management assistance committees
composed of recreational users and
natural resource managers to help guide
the management and recreational
development of specific District proper-
ties.

Southwest Florida Water
Management District
The District conducts detailed resource
evaluations on projects as the basis for
board review and acquisition approval.
Interim guidelines are developed by
staff to direct start-up management and
recreational use prior to completion of
more detailed plans. Site-specific
management plans are prepared when
substantial portions of a project have
been acquired. Particular emphasis is


placed on public use planning. A land
use classification system is used to
designate activity zones and special
protection areas. For resource manage-
ment, the needs identified at the concep-
tual planning level are translated into
annual work plans for implementation.

State of Florida
The pace of acquisition under Preserva-
tion 2000 places state land managers in
a position similar to that of the districts.
Recent statutory changes require a land
management prospectus to be prepared
for each CARL project Under the
CARL process, a lead management
agency is identified for each project
prior to its placement on the acquisition
priority list. As lands within the project
are acquired, the lead management
agency begins preparation of a compre-
hensive management plan. A completed
plan is reviewed and approved by the
multi-agency Land Management Advisory
Council prior to its implementation.



In many instances, due to the single-
purpose missions and internal limitations
of various state agencies implementing
land management programs, the water
management districts have had to dupli-
cate specialized personnel, requiring
additional resources and funds. For
example, one water management district
has employed staff with forestry expertise
due to the Division of Forestry's already
overburdened resources. Similar burdens


Page 36

















and restrictions occur with the Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
Obstacles such as these prevent the
implementation of an integrated conserva-
tion lands management program.

So too, have private landowners'
expertise been woefully underutilized.
In part this has occurred because,
historically and currently, public lands
programs are almost totally acquisition-
based. With the emphasis now shifting
to less-than-fee acquisition, additional
opportunities to utilize the stewardship
expertise of private landowners must be
developed and integrated into existing
and future land management programs.
However, in many instances, the sources
of funds utilized to acquire the lands for
specific purposes may restrict what
activities may subsequently occur on the
property. These restrictions must be
identified and eliminated to properly
utilize these resources.

The utilization of mitigation banking
and mitigation projects by the water
management districts would indeed
supplement the restoration and manage-
ment budgets of the districts and further
the conservation goals of the proposed
State Land Conservation Plan. The St.
Johns River Water Management District
has specified that it will require addi-
tional funds for restoration of its existing
lands based on that district's identifica-
tion of, and reliance on, expectations of
projected revenues. The South Florida


Water Management District has identi-
fied and projected significant anticipated
revenues from the operation of mitiga-
tion banks on district lands.

Once the lands included in a proposed
State Land Conservation Plan have been
conserved and protected, they must be
managed and restored to protect the
investment of the citizens of this state.
Management plans, timely, complete
and able to be implemented, must be
established for these lands. Sources of
funding for the implementation of these
plans must be identified and secured.
Personnel resources and disciplines must
be identified and established to imple-
ment the actions required in these plans.
And, to achieve this, we must step
outside the present systems that have
been built and create a long-term, fully
integrated land management system
crafted to recognize the regional
differences of the state and build this
new system with constitutional and
statutory reform. These actions and
these commitments will help to ensure a
sustainable Florida, and provide to the
citizens that which they demand and
deserve.



ISSUES

*. Do the water management districts
have adequate statutory authority and
sufficient guidance to implement land
management programs?


Page 37
















*" Are the water management districts
currently utilizing the most cost-effective
land management methodologies?

4 Are public land management
programs adequately integrated to
operate effectively?

* Is adequate funding available for the
water management districts to imple-
ment their land management programs?

4 Do the water management districts
accurately reflect all land management
costs in their reports?



SUBCOMMITTEE
FINDINGS

Statutory Authority and Guidance

4: The water management districts do
possess the requisite statutory authority
to implement current land management
programs. However, more specific
policy guidance should be developed to
more fully integrate the districts'
management programs with those of the
federal, state, and local governments, as
well as with private citizens.

4 All of the water management
districts have developed management
decision processes that require Govern-
ing Board and/or Land Management
Committee review and approval of
proposed land management plans.


Recent statutory revisions have
prompted the districts to expand on their
long-range budget planning for land
management and capital improvements.

4 Some water management district
acquisition programs are mandated by
federal and/or state government along
with required land management func-
tions. These mandates have resulted in
land management programs for acquisi-
tion and management without the
necessary appropriations for the per-
petual costs of management Similar
unanticipated mandates may occur in
the future. To be able to respond
accordingly, the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan must include flexibil-
ity in its implementation.

Cost-Efective Land Management

4 The state agencies currently respon-
sible for various land management
programs were created to fulfill narrow
and specific duties. However, the
creation of these agencies was not
necessarily supported with consistent
policy guidance or funding. This has
resulted in the Legislature not providing
adequate nor consistent funding for
these agencies to fulfill their responsibili-
ties and implement their land manage-
ment programs accordingly.

4 The water management districts'
ability to rely on state agency assistance
and participation in specific land


Page 38

















management functions is dependent on
the state agency's ability to provide
resources or personnel. T.e districts
have been able to utilize state agency
support in many situations, however,
they have not been able to secure state
agency support to the extent necessary
to fully implement their land manage-
ment plans. The result has been that the
districts have had to add or duplicate
personnel and resources to adequately
fulfill their land management responsi-
bilities.


+ The water management districts and
the Department of Environmental
Protection have not fully integrated nor
fully utilized other state agencies, local
governments, nonprofit and private
entities as additional resources for restora-
tion or land management activities.


*. The ability to provide management
cost comparisons between the water
management districts and state agencies
to determine cost effectiveness is
difficult due to the lack of consistency in
criteria, methodologies and reporting
requirements. Therefore, no conclusive
findings regarding this issue were
determined due to the lack of a system
or process with reporting requirements
to ensure accurate, consistent and full
disclosure on the long-term costs and
effectiveness of the districts' and state
land management programs.


Land Management Integration


*:* The water management districts are
uniquely positioned and continue to be
the pivotal regional structure to integrate
state and local government conservation
programs.
However,
However, Water Manage
the need
the need Land Manag
for full
integration
and
coordina-
tion will be a 1s
necessary
to imple-
ment the
manage-
ment of
the State Land Conservation Plan.


* Critical to full integration of all land
management, is the development of
conceptual management plans. The
determination of all capital and manage-
ment costs required to implement the
plan and achieve the primary purpose
for the acquisition is also critical. The
water management districts have
maintained that completion of final land
management plans prior to acquisition
would cause delays in the acquisition
process.


4 The water management districts
have independently developed and
implemented land management planning
procedures.


ment Districts
ement Costs


Page 39















4 Full integration of the land manage-
ment component of the State Land
Conservation Plan will not occur
without more complete development of
restoration and management plans for
all current district lands and those
proposed for acquisition or conserva-
tion. The current process does not
provide for the full integration and
coordination between agencies with land
management responsibilities.

Land Management Funding

If current land management funding
sources are maintained, including the
integrity of the Water Management
Land Trust Fund, the water management
districts report that sufficient funding is
available, with an adjustment to the
percentage available for management
from the Water Management Lands
Trust Fund, to fulfill their land manage-
ment responsibilities. Current estimates
from the districts establish land manage-
ment costs at approximately $9.36 per
acre and are projected to increase to
$10.41 per acre by 2003-04.

4 Part of the water management
districts' ability to manage their lands is
their ability to continue or expand
sustainable resource management
programs. Private leases, sustainable
forestry practices and other revenue-
generating activities are estimated to


generate over $1.7 million in 1994-95.
With projected land management costs
in all districts for 1994-95 estimated at
$8.1 million, this revenue could offset
approximately 21 percent of the
districts' annual land management costs.


: The water management districts
appear to be able to generate the
necessary funding for land management,
with adjustment to the percentage from
the Water Management Lands Trust
Fund available for land management
However, the St. Johns River Water
Management District has stated that it
will require an additional $42 million
for restoration of its current land
holdings.

* With over 90 percent of the water
management districts' current land
holdings open for at least passive walk-
in public access, requests or require-
ments for more intensive recreational
purposes, such as vehicular access, may
be inconsistent with the purposes for
which the land was acquired due to the
environmental sensitivity of the lands.

Land Management Cost Reporting

Not all the costs and allocations of
costs necessary to implement and
maintain the current water management
districts land management responsibili-
ties are disclosed in the existing report-
ing processes.


Page 40
















MAJOR GOAL

* Concurrent with the completion of
the State Land Conservation Plan,
complete a full determination of the
most effective and efficient organization,
system and processes to implement the
management plans of the State Land
Conservation Plan.



SUBCOMMITTEE
RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Recommend the Legislature main-
tain the integrity of the Water Manage-
ment Lands Trust Fund to ensure a
reliable and ongoing funding source for
water management district land manage-
ment activities.

2. Direct the Department of Environ-
mental Protection, in coordination with
the water management districts, to:
investigate the feasibility of restructuring
the current limitations on Preservation
2000 bond issues to reduce limitations
on private resource management
activities on P2000 lands; retain expert
advice on the evaluation of current
restrictions of activities/uses of public
conservation lands purchased with
P2000 funds; and prepare recommenda-
tions for amendments to future bond
documents, to allow more effective and
productive use of these lands, which are
consistent with the primary purpose for
which the lands were conserved.


3. By March 1, 1997, and concurrent
with the process to prepare a State Land
Conservation Plan, the state land
management agencies and the water
management districts shall complete and
submit a full report on the long-term
management costs, inclusive of funding
sources, of currently-owned lands, using
consistent management cost criteria,
formulas and reporting formats. The
specific identification of the cost of
restoration and any capital project
shortfalls shall be included, as well as
the sources of funding and revenue
necessary to implement and complete
such projects within this report.

4. Prior to final acquisition, the water
management districts shall complete a
conceptual management plan, which
shall address management, exotics,
restoration, preliminary long-term
management costs and projected
funding sources necessary to achieve the
management plan.

5. No later than one year from the date
of final acquisition of an adequate
portion of the project area to substan-
tially meet the management goals
contained within the conceptual land
management plan, the water manage-
ment districts shall prepare a final
management plan, and where appli-
cable, restoration plan, including specific
schedules, funding sources and a budget
consistent with the conceptual manage-


Page 41

















ment plan, for review and approval by
the Governing Board.

6. Direct the water management
districts, in coordination with the
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion, to identify and evaluate any
statutory requirements for public access
on water management district and state
lands for amendment to allow compat-
ible uses.

7. Direct the water management
districts and the state to prepare exotic
species management plans for all
currently-owned lands. These plans shall
include implementation schedules,
proposed budgets and identified needs
and sources of funding, and are to be
completed by March 1, 1997.

8. The water management districts, in
coordination with the Department of
Environmental Protection, shall estab-
lish and adopt uniform criteria and
reporting formats for management
prospectuses and plans by March 1,
1997


9. Identify, prepare and recommend
statutory and rule amendments neces-
sary to implement the Subcommittee's
recommendations, including the
submission of these amendments to the
Legislature for the 1996 session. Estab-
lish Commission coordination with
House and Senate Natural Resources
Committees and House and Senate
Select Committees on Water Policy for
appropriate recommendations.

10. Recommend that the Legislature
support and enact the appropriate
statutory amendments necessary to
implement the findings and consensus
recommendations of the Subcommittee
developed during the Water Manage-
ment District Review Commission's
tenure.

11. Recommend the continuance of
the Commission or some other body
consisting of similar representation to
ensure the implementation of the
Committee's major goals and recom-
mendations.


Page 42
















Mitigation Banking


and Mitigation Projects


Background

oLritigation is defined as the
j creation, enhancement or
.L L preservation of wetlands
and uplands to offset other wetlands that
may be damaged (impacted) or elimi-
nated by a permitted project The intent
of mitigation is to offset the natural
biological, hydrological and other
functions that are lost when natural
areas are destroyed.

Since its inception in 1979, mitigation in
Florida has been vacillating between
total failure and limited success. The
science of recreating natural systems is
still in its infancy and is not an exact
science. There is much research being
conducted in an attempt to better
understand the complex interaction of
soils, hydrology, plants and animals
critical to the ecological functions of
these systems. Much more data collec-
tion and its analysis is required to arrive
at state-of-the-art technology for success-
ful mitigation.


The criteria used to designate successful
mitigation is for the wetlands to become
a self-sustaining functional ecosystem
that will offset the loss of functions from
the altered or destroyed system it is
designed to replace. The four types of
wetland mitigation are defined in the
Environmental Resource Permitting
Rules, as follows:

. Restoration: Converting back to a
historic condition those wetlands, surface
waters or uplands which currently eist as a
land form whid differs from the historic
condition.

* Creation: The establishment of new
wetlands or surface waters by conversion of
other landforms.

* Enhancement: Improving the ecological
value of wetlands, other surface waters, or
uplands that have been degraded in compari-
son to their historic condition.

* Preservation: The protection of wet-
lands, other surface waters or uplands from


Page 43
















adverse impacts by placing a conservation
easement or other comparable land use
restriction over the property or by donation of
fee simple interest in the property to an
appropriate entity.

In 1990, a then-Department of Environ-
mental Regulation study was initiated by
the Florida Legislature to assess the use
and effectiveness of mitigation in
wetland resource (dredge and fill)
permitting as implemented by the
Department. The Department examined
119 wetland creation sites required by
63 permits. The sites included freshwa-
ter herbaceous and forested wetlands, as
well as tidal herbaceous and mangrove
wetlands.

The study found that of the 63 permits
reviewed, only four were in compliance
with the permit conditions. Noncompli-
ance ranged from minor non-submittal
of reports to extreme deviation from the
approved permitted design. The study
also found that in 34 percent of the
permits, mitigation was never even
attempted or implemented.

The ecological success rate of mitigation
in permits reviewed for this study, where
mitigation was attempted, was only 26
percent Freshwater permits had a 12
percent success rate and tidal wetlands
had a 45 percent success rate. Ecological
success was defined as whether the site
is, or will eventually become, a func-


tional wetland of the intended type of
mitigation wetland.


In many cases, mitigation sites lack the
interrelated upland habitat associations
that are extremely valuable to wetland
functional values and biodiversity.
Because the relationships between uplands
and wetlands are so integrally related,
attempts to have some upland feature
involved in the wetlands mitigation should
be made. Many mitigation sites have
traditionally been isolated from other
hydrological or biological influences; and
even if marginally successful, may never
have the environmental significance as if
they had been associated with contiguous
systems.

This fact alone supports the concept that
some mitigation would be better suited
in regional resource sites that could
preserve large tracts of ecologically
significant habitat. Establishing signifi-
cant corridors which are interconnected
regionally will provide a substantial
ecological effect, as opposed to frag-
mented systems.

Evolution

The Legislature recognized these facts
subsequent to the study during the 1993
Session when it enacted Section
373.4135, Florida Statutes, which states
in part:


Page 44
















"The Legilature finds that the adverse
impacts of activities regulated under this part
may be offset by the creation and mainte-
nance of regional mitigation ars or
mitigation banks. Mitigation banks can
minimize mitigation uncertainty and provide
ecological benefts..."

The water management districts and the
Department adopted rules within the
statutorily-mandated schedule and have
begun to implement the program. To
date, only five permits have been issued
statewide for mitigation banks. Mitiga-
tion projects are being implemented in
four of the five water management
districts. These projects provide supple-
mental funding sources for the acquisi-
tion and restoration of district lands.
The South Florida Water Management
District has proposed to incorporate the
establishment and operation of mitiga-
tion banks on district lands to specifi-
cally provide additional revenues for
acquisition, restoration and management
of its lands.

Since this program is so new, many issues
were raised during the Subcommittee's
review that were simultaneously being
considered as questions during implemen-
tation of the program. It was recognized
that the water management districts and
the Department could establish and
operate mitigation banks and mitigation
projects. It was also resolved that in order
to "level the playing field," procedures
such as pre-identifying eligible lands


within each of a water management
district's watersheds and specific cost
recovery requirements may allow private
mitigation banks some relief from
perceived unfair competition.

The Subcommittee recognized that the
water management districts are internally
struggling to establish procedures to
integrate relevant considerations of both
regulatory and land management pro-
grams. They also recognized that these
functions needed specific procedures to
eliminate the appearance and possibility
of conflict.

The Subcommittee feels strongly that the
mitigation requirements of the regulatory
programs require review to ascertain what
amendments are needed to better inte-
grate these requirements with the conser-
vation goals of the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan. These amendments
should also address establishing proce-
dures which could provide a higher level
of certainty in mitigation permitting
requirements for the applicant.



ISSUES

* Do the water management districts
and the Department of Environmental
Protection have the requisite statutory
authority and sufficient guidance to
implement mitigation banks and endorsed
mitigation projects?


Page 45

















+ Should the water management
districts construct and operate mitigation
banks or endorse mitigation projects
within the same watershed as private
mitigation banks?

* Should the water management
districts construct mitigation banks,
endorse mitigation projects or allow
mitigation banks on lands they presently
own?

* Should the water management
districts designate locations in each
watershed which they consider priority
lands eligible for a bank or project?

* Should these alternative mitigation
processes be relied upon by the water
management districts as a funding source
for meeting land restoration require-
ments?

* Do the water management districts
adequately separate their regulatory and
land acquisition and management
functions?

* Are the federal, state and water
management district mitigation banking
programs sufficiently integrated to achieve
ecologically-sound results?


SUBCOMMIITEE
FINDINGS

Bacgrund

*: Prior to 1984, the regulation of
Florida's wetlands was sporadic at best
It was not until after 1984 that the
requirements for the regulation of
wetlands was specifically adopted by
rules, and then the focus was the on-site
creation of wetlands. This piecemeal
approach to the regulation of wetlands
led to the contribution of the loss of
over 50 percent of this state's wetlands.

+ The regulatory requirement prefer-
ring on-site creation of wetlands has not
proven to be the most beneficial in the
protection of regional natural systems.
This preference was costly both to
Florida's natural systems and to the
permitted mandated to mitigate within
these constraints.

*. In response to this situation, the
Legislature in 1993 recognized that a
regional approach to wetland mitigation
needed to be included in the arsenal of
alternatives available to both the
regulating agency and the applicant
With this recognition, the Legislature
enacted the statutory authority and
mandate in section 373.4135, Florida
Statutes, to the water management
districts and the Department to adopt
mitigation banking rules implementing a


Page 46

















regional ecosystems approach to the
protection of the wetlands of Florida.


4 The water management districts and
the Department do possess the requisite
statutory authority to issue permits for,
as well as establish and operate, mitiga-
tion banks. The water management
districts also possess the authority,
pursuant to Section 373.4135, Florida
Statutes, to implement district-endorsed
mitigation projects for acquisition and/
or restoration of conservation lands.

* The water management districts and
the Department did, in fact, adopt
mitigation banking rules including the
institution of "district-endorsed mitiga-
tion projects," as an additional mitiga-
tion alternative. This allows the districts
to accept cash donations to be used in
acquisition or restoration projects that
would offset the impacts proposed under
a permit application. However, this
systems approach to mitigation is in its
infancy and little to no information is
available regarding its success or failure
on a statewide basis. In fact, to date only
five mitigation bank permits have been
issued statewide by all permitting
agencies, although the utilization of
mitigation projects has been imple-
mented by the water management
districts.

*- The Subcommittee has provided its
findings, goals and recommendations, as
limited to mitigation banking and


mitigation projects, as described within
the mitigation banking rules of the water
management districts and the Depart-
ment. It has evaluated the contribution
that these activities can provide toward
the completion of the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan. The Subcom-
mittee has not reviewed nor evaluated
those portions of the water management
districts' and Department's environmen-
tal resource permitting rules which
contain the mitigation requirements for
permitting.

- The Subcommittee recognizes that
to be able to achieve the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan, a review and
evaluation of the current environmental
resource permitting rules regarding
mitigation should be accomplished. The
Subcommittee feels it is necessary to
review, evaluate and possibly propose
amendments to these rules to facilitate
the implementation and completion of
the proposed State Land Conservation
Plan.

- Insufficient integration and coordina-
tion exists between federal, state and
regional agencies implementing mitigation
banking programs. This lack of coordina-
tion continues to frustrate mitigation bank
applicants during permitting, allows gaps
to exist in sound ecosystem management
planning, and will not further the comple-
tion of the proposed State Land Conserva-
tion Plan.


Page 47
















Watershed Idenifcation


*: To date, only the South Florida
Water Management District has de-
dared its intention to establish mitiga-
tion banks within its district. Without
the identification and notification that
the water management districts or the
Department intend to establish mitiga-
tion banks within a particular water-
shed, other governmental, nonprofit or
private entities cannot accurately access
the supply and demand for a given area
in which they may wish to establish
mitigation banks.

*: The identification of areas eligible for
the establishment of a water management
district-endorsed mitigation project is
necessary to assist a permit applicant, as
well as notify a perspective mitigation
bank permit applicant that such projects
are contemplated and would indeed
create competition for a proposed
mitigation bank.

Water Management District or
Department Banks or Projects

* Most all of the water management
districts have implemented a program of
utilizing the mitigation project alternative
within the mitigation banking rule. This
program has furthered the acquisition of
critical lands within the districts. With the
identification of the lands necessary to
achieve the proposed State Land Conser-


ovation Plan, the water management
districts, the Department, permit appli-
cants, nonprofit entities and others would
be able to properly identify and partici-
pate in the completion of the Plan by
cooperating with the water management
districts in the mitigation projects pro-
gram.

* The water management districts have
historically proven, and currently are
situated, to be the agencies pivotal to the
completion of the State Land Conserva-
tion Plan. However, with this recognition
comes the responsibility of identifying the
amounts and sources for the additional
funds necessary for the restoration and
management of these additional lands
prior to the acquisition or conservation of
these lands.

Mitigation Banking Rules

* Although just beginning to be
implemented, the mitigation banking
rules seem to require such a laborious
process which does not appear to assist
an applicant and in doing so does not
contribute to the environment The
rules contain advantages to the water
management districts and the Depart-
ment, such as in the Financial Responsi-
bility section of the rules, and do not
address the potential contribution and
participation of local governments in
the establishment and operation of
mitigation banks.


4 Arnaaion'


Page 48

















MAJOR GOALS

4 Establish the utilization of mitigation
banking and mitigation projects, as
successful alternatives to traditional
mitigation processes in order to achieve
successful, long-term, regional environ-
mental benefits, complementary to the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan.

4: Fully integrate the mitigation banking
programs of federal and state agencies and
the water management districts to create
an ecologically-sound approach to
ecosystem management planning and
implementation.



SUBCOMMITTEE
RECOMMENDATIONS

Watershed Identification

1. The water management districts and
the Department, in coordination with
the appropriate local governments, shall
identify all public lands, and any private
lands which wish to participate, within
each watershed which would be eligible
for mitigation projects or mitigation
banks. The purpose of this process is to
provide advance notice of areas within
each watershed which have existing or
potential resource values for offsetting
the loss of wetland function. This is to
be accomplished by March 1, 1997.


2. The water management districts and
the Department shall include in the annual
State Land Conservation Plan report,
published and submitted to the Governor,
President of the Senate and Speaker of the
House of Representatives, an update of
which lands they have acquired or
conserved which are eligible for district
endorsed mitigation projects or mitigation
banks byJanuary 15th of each year

Water Management District or
Department Banks or Projects

3. The water management districts and
Department shall establish procedures to
assist permit applicants in addressing
mitigation requirements for proposed
wetland impacts which will provide an
additional funding source for imple-
menting the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan. These procedures
shall result in an expedited mechanism
which increases the level of certainty for
permit applicants.

4. Where a water management district
or the Department operates a mitigation
bank or implements a mitigation project,
the aforementioned procedure shall
specify that where a water management
district or the Department operates a
mitigation bank or accepts cash contri-
butions for district-endorsed mitigation
projects, the amount charged to permit
applicants who utilize such bank or
project shall be no less than the full cost
of the mitigation bank activities or the


Page 49

















project to the district or the Department.
These costs shall include all direct and
indirect expenses for land acquisition,
land management, and capital and other
costs for restoration and enhancement
activities.

5. Direct the water management
districts and the Department to establish
separate accounts for funds received
from mitigation projects so that those
funds are identified to be used for
acquisition and restoration projects,
which will offset the impacts identified.

6. Require the water management
districts and the Department to establish
and adopt internal operating procedures
to ensure that the regulatory and land
acquisition and management functions
of these agencies will further the
completion of the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan.

7. Direct the water management
districts and the Department to cooper-
ate with private and nonprofit entities,
local governments and other state
agencies for the establishment of
mitigation projects and banks on district
or state lands where possible, and
voluntarily on private lands when
appropriate, where such mitigation
projects will contribute to the comple-
tion of the proposed State Land Conser-
vation Plan.


Mitigation Rules


8. Direct the Subcommittee to con-
tinue to confer with representatives of
the regulatory departments of the water
management districts and the Depart-
ment to identify which portions of the
rules require amendment to facilitate the
implementation and completion of the
proposed State Land Conservation Plan.

9. Identify, prepare and recommend
statutory and rule amendments neces-.
sary to implement the Subcommittee's
recommendations, including the
submission of these amendments, to the
Legislature for the 1996 session. Estab-
lish Commission coordination with
House and Senate Natural Resources
Committees and House and Senate
Select Committees on Water Policy for
appropriate recommendations.

10. Recommend that the Legislature
support and enact the appropriate
statutory amendments necessary to
implement the findings and consensus
recommendations of the Subcommittee
developed during the Water Manage-
ment District Review Commission's
tenure.

11. Recommend the continuance of
the Commission or some other body
consisting of similar representation to
ensure the implementation of the
Committee's major goals and recom-
mendations.


Page 50
















in an accumulated backlog of unused
and uncommitted funds, resulting in
significant risks to future funding
commitments.


*o Without a State Land Conservation
Plan, estimating the necessary funding to
complete the plan is impossible. How-
ever, based on current estimates, the
continuation of Preservation 2000
funding through the life of the program
is critical to completing the State Plan. It
is anticipated that current funding will
not generate sufficient funding to
complete the State Land Conservation
Plan therefore, voluntary, incentive-
based conservation strategies must be
generated and developed.

*: To be able to complete the conser-
vation of the lands in the proposed State
Land Conservation Plan, current
funding sources must be utilized in a
creative, forward-focused manner, such
as leveraging present funds to acquire
development rights or conservation
easements, which in turn could provide
the basis to generate revenues through
the sale of credits by a mitigation bank.



MAJOR GOALS


4 Ensure that the requisite proce-
dures and funding are sufficient to
complete the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan.


*:* Estab-
Current Funding Sourc
lish and
implement
Nil
a fully-
coordi-
nated and
integrated
system of ,,,,M
land
conservation and acquisition procedures
which encourages the participation of
private landowners, agricultural and
forestry interests, citizens, nonprofit
corporations and governmental entities.



SUBCOMMITTEE
RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Ensure that the landowners
participating in the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan do not have their
lands subjected to increased regulatory
requirements. It is the intention of the
Subcommittee to recommend the
prohibition of such occurrence in order
to complete the proposed State Land
Conservation Plan.


2. Request the Legislature enact
appropriate statutory amendments to
ensure that any maps, inventories, or
any related graphic information pre-
pared by any state agency, water
management district or regional plan-
ning council shall only be used for the
express purpose for which it was


;es for Land Acquisition

a.. l..6.. PAM
SAMM M*PIo.r0-n
.my ....1

g .in. (M U
.HMM., r


Page 23




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